Taheebo, also known as pau d’arco, ipe roxo or lapacho, is a member of a large genus of trees indigenous to the tropical rainforest areas that reach from Mexico into northern South America. Most studies of the medicinal effects of the genus have been conducted on T. impetiginosa, which has been used locally for centuries to treat conditions ranging from bronchitis and malaria to fungal infections, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. Lay reports show taheebo to be effective in the treatment of cancer, but scientific proof is needed to support this theory.
The inner bark, which is dried.
The main active ingredients in taheebo are quinones, which combat bacteria, viruses and fungi, have anti-inflammatory properties, reduce pain, stimulate the immune system and are reputed to help fight cancer. One such quinone – lapachol – has been the most intensively studied. Other constituents of taheebo bark include iridoid glycosides, which have an antioxidant effect.
The compounds in taheebo have been shown to help destroy the micro-organisms that can cause diseases and infections.
Taheebo is prescribed to:
- Stimulate the production of red blood cells in bone marrow, improving the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
- Stimulate the immune system, making it useful for people with chronic fatigue syndrome or HIV/Aids.
- Its antioxidant properties have an anti-ageing effect on the skin.
- Treat chronic bronchitis.
- Treat Treat prostatitis (swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland). Taheebo fights bacteria such as E.coli, the most common cause of two types of prostatitis.
- Fight pain.
- Treat fungal infections, especially candida.
- May help in the treatment of cancer.
Domestic & culinary uses
The tree grows widely throughout tropical South America, including Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina. It has a hard, durable and attractive wood that is extremely resistant to insect and fungal attack.
- © soultea.de (https://www.soultea.de/), Photographer André Helbig (https://andrehelbig.de/) ][CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
- © soultea.de (https://www.soultea.de/), Photographer André Helbig (http://andrehelbig.de/) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons